The pregnancy period can be divided into three parts; the first trimester, the second trimester and the third trimester. Trimester as you can judge from its name means 3 monthly. Each trimester brings changes in the woman’s physical form and psyche.
The First Trimester:
This is the first three months of pregnancy. It is the period when a woman realises and confirms her pregnancy. It starts with the first day or your last menstrual cycle and ends at 12 weeks from then. The fertilised egg starts growing in your womb. The baby at this stage is called the embryo.
- The baby grows quite fast in this stage.
- Its bones have taken shape and it has arms,legs, feet and hands.
- The intestines will form and also two kidneys.
- It has hair and nails, a sense of touch and taste.
- You can hear a heartbeat at 6 weeks.
- At the end of this period, all the organs of the baby are formed.
- The baby is called a fetus at the end of this trimester.
In this trimester, a doctor gives a detailed list of dos and don’ts that should be followed religiously. The dos usually will be about the medication to be taken and advise to eat a balanced diet. You will be advised against intake of alcohol and caffeine. If you are a regular smoker, doctors will advise against the same during the complete period of pregnancy, not just the first trimester.
The woman’s body changes a little in the first trimester. Usually the changes will not be noticeable to an outsider.
In the first trimester women gain weight though only about a couple of kilos. In some cases, due to the aversion to food and nausea, women even end up losing weight. This is absolutely normal and no need for any panic.
The Second Trimester:
This is the period between 13 weeks and 28 weeks of pregnancy. This is the period you will start looking pregnant. You tend to get back your appetite because the nausea and morning sickness would have stopped with the end of the first trimester. You start feeling healthier. Some women sign up for yoga classes to have a smooth delivery and overall to keep fit and healthy.
The woman’s body changes noticeably and a little baby bump begins to show. The breasts become bigger and it is advised to wear a bigger bra size for comfort. Mid way in this trimester, you can feel the baby move and occasionally kick too. In the later parts of this trimester, you will start feeling heartburns and frequent urination. This is because as the baby grows, it puts pressure on the bladder. Women develop backaches as the weight increases. It is advisable not to lift or carry anything heavy during this period.
Doctors will carry out scans and blood tests to ensure all is well with the baby. They advise you to eat healthy food and drink plenty of fluids. In the 14th week the baby is about 85 mms long and by the 17th week it is 12 cms long and weighs about 150 gms. By the 20th week, the baby will be 26 cms long. You can feel it move and kick and by the 25th week it can respond to loud sounds, by kicking. By the end of this trimester the baby will roughly weigh a kilo.
A crucial decision to be taken is whether it is going to be a home delivery or at the hospital. This is one busy, but happy period.
The Third Trimester:
This are the last three months of a pregnancy. The baby is growing to its complete size. In the 7th month, the baby is around 36 cms long and weighs about 1800 gms. It responds to sound and light. In the 8th month, the baby is 46 cms long and weighs almost 2.2. Kgs. It is at this stage that the brain in developing fast and it moves and kick a lot. By the 9th month the baby’s lungs are fully developed. It can blink its eyes or turn its head. The baby is 50 cms long and weighs around 3 kgs.
Women often find themselves breathless. This is because the uterus increases in size thereby pushing up the diaphragm. Doctors advise to keep count of the number of times the baby kicks in a day.
By the 36th week the baby drops lower into the pelvis easing your breathing a lot. At 38 weeks the baby is a term baby and after this it is completely safe to deliver. Doctors give detailed information about the various stages of labour. They also enlighten the would be parents of the various means of delivery. This is the period of excitement and happiness as the due date of delivery approaches.